740.0011 Pacific War/1624: Telegram

President Roosevelt to Generalissimo Chiang 1

In order to insure immediate coordination and cooperation in our common effort against the enemy, there is being established a supreme commander for all British, Dutch and American forces in the Southwest Pacific theater.

The advisability of a similar command of activities of the United Powers in the Chinese theater appears evident. This theater we suggest should initially include such portion of Thailand and Indochina as may become accessible to troops of the United Powers. In agreement with the representatives of the British and Dutch Governments, I desire to suggest that you should undertake to exercise such command over all forces of the United Powers which are now, or may in the future be operating in the Chinese theater.

It is our thought that, in order to make such command effective, a joint planning staff should at once be organized consisting of representatives of the British, American and Chinese governments. If you consider it practicable, and Russia agrees, a Russian representative might be included. This staff would function under your supreme command.

The commander of the Southwest Pacific theater and the commander of the British forces in India would be directed to maintain the [Page 285] closest liaison with your headquarters. A mutual exchange of liaison officers between the three headquarters would be desirable.

Such arrangements would enable your counsel and influence to be given effect in the formulation of the general strategy for the conduct of the war in all theaters. Your views in this matter will be greatly appreciated by me.

  1. The source text is the copy sent by President Roosevelt on December 30 to the Secretary of State with the notation: “for your information”. A memorandum for the file by Hopkins, dated December 30 (Hopkins Papers), notes that Roosevelt made a few changes in the text approved by the Chiefs of Staff before sending the telegram. The final paragraph of the Hopkins memorandum reads as follows: “I personally don’t think Chiang Kai-Shek is getting much of a command out of this. In fact all he is getting that he hasn’t already got is that any of our or any British troops in China will fight under him.”